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Free and Strong America

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

High Speed Rail, whatever that is..

Thomas Sowell lays out for us the most recent boondoggle pipe-dream advanced by the Obama administration, that of so-called "high speed rail"....

"High-speed rail may be feasible in parts of Europe or Japan, where the population density is much higher than in the United States. But, without enough people packed into a given space, there will never be enough riders to repay the high cost of building and maintaining a high-speed rail system.

Building a high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco may sound great to people who don't give it any serious thought – but we are a more spread-out country than England, France or Japan. The distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco is greater than the distance from London to Paris – by more than 100 miles.

In Japan, the distance between Tokyo and Osaka is comparable to the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco. But the population of Osaka alone is larger than the combined populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco – and Tokyo has millions more people than Osaka. That is why it can make sense to have a "bullet train" running between Osaka and Tokyo, but makes no sense to build one between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

However little President Obama knows or cares about economics, he knows a lot about politics – and especially political rhetoric. "High-speed rail" is simply another set of lofty words to justify continued expansion of government spending. So are words like "investment in education" or "investment" in any number of other things, which serves the same political purpose.

Who cares what the realities are behind these nice-sounding words? Obama can leave that to the economists, the statisticians and the historians. His point is to win the votes of people who know little or nothing about economics, history or statistics. That includes a lot of people with expensive Ivy League degrees."

Kudos to Sowell for saying what those of us with even a modicum of macroeconomical acumen have been postulating for a long time. And to think, what was one of the benefits of high-speed rail that Obama recently touted while on the pre-election, perpetual campaign trail that has hallmarked his presidency? Quote..."For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down."

Much like a stopped clock, even the ACLU is correct every once in awhile.


photogr said...

Considering the escalating prices of imported gas from countries that hate us, some form of high speed rail or electric powered golf carts may become the most economical means of transportation in the near future for commuting.

JD Curtis said...

"You know the adage, "When you're in a hole, stop digging"? TriMet has revised it to: "When you're in a hole, build more light rail." Despite its financial distress, TriMet now plans to build another MAX line, its most expensive yet. Construction is slated to begin this summer on a segment connecting Portland and Milwaukie, a sleepy town of 20,000. The price tag: $1.5 billion. As the line would stretch only 7.3 miles, the cost per mile would be a little more than $200 million. The federal government has agreed to foot half the bill, and TriMet plans to fund most of the rest by floating $724 million in bonds.

Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere has met its match: this is the Light Rail to Nowhere." Link